NewStar Fresh Foods, LLC. - Executive Summary

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NewStar Fresh Foods Company's (Yuma, Arizona) accidental release prevention policy involves a unified approach that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices.  All applicable procedures of the EPA Prevention Program are adhered to.  NewStar Fresh Foods' emergency response policy involves the preparation of response plans which are tailored to the facility and to the emergency response services available in the community.  It is also in compliance with the EPA Emergency Response Program requirements. 
The NewStar facility in Yuma is utilized for fresh vegetable processing and wholesaling. The facility uses an anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system to cool the processing areas. The facility uses 2,250 gallons (11,600 lbs) of anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration.  
The offsite consequence analysis includes consideration of two release scenarios for this process, identified as "worst case release scenario" and "alternative release scenario." The first scenario is defined 
by the EPA, which states that "the owner or operator shall assume that the...maximum quantity in the largest released as a gas over 10 minutes," due to an unspecified failure. The alternative release scenario is on that is more likely to occur than the worst case release scenario. 
Atmospheric dispersion modeling has to be performed to determine the distance traveled by the toxic substance released before its concentration decreases to the EPA toxic endpoint (0.14 mg/L for anhydrous ammonia), which is the Emergency Response Planning Guideline Level 2 (ERPG-2).  This is defined by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) as the "maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed that nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to one hour without which could impair an individual's ability to take protective action."  The residential population within a radius corresponding to the toxic endpoint distance has to be defined, "to estimate the population pote 
ntially affected." 
The worst case release scenarios at NewStar Fresh Foods involves failures of the lines and all mitigation systems for the ammonia processes.  Because the ammonia systems tanks, pipes, pumps, and equipment are within proximity of each other, the total amount of ammonia that potentially could be released would amass to approximately 11,600 lbs.  The offsite consequence analysis for these scenarios were performed for two sets of conditions.  The first set followed conditions pre-defined by the EPA, namely release of the entire amount as a gas in 10 minutes, use of the one hour average ERPG-2 as the toxic endpoint, and consideration of the population residing within a full circle with radius corresponding to the toxic endpoint distance.  EPA set these conditions to facilitate the performance of the offsite consequence analysis; however, the assumptions used may be unrealistic because: 
?Only the population within an elliptical plume extending downwind of a release point 
is potentially affected.  This plume, or footprint, is approximately 6% (one-twentieth) of the area of the full circle. 
?It is not appropriate to compare a 10-minute release to a one hour average standard.  The one hour ERPG value can be modified using available time of exposure/concentration relationships to match the ten minute release time. 
When atmospheric dispersion modeling for the worst case scenarios were performed using the EPA assumptions, a distance to toxic endpoint of 1.4 miles and an estimate of residential population potentially affected of 100 were obtained for an ammonia release. 
The alternative release scenarios involved the rupture of a tank or line possibly due to vehicular damage or vandalism.  The amount of ammonia released was predicted to be 534 lbs/min and the toxic endpoint distance from ERPG-2 was 0.4 miles.  The toxic concentration levels outside this endpoint distance are below the allowable standards for toxic substances established by AIHA.  The typic 
al meteorological conditions used for these scenarios was a Stability Class D, wind speed 3.0 m/s, average air temperature, and average humidity.  
The general accidental release prevention program is based on the following key elements: 
?High level of training of the operators. 
?Preventative maintenance program. 
?Use of state-of-the-art process and safety equipment. 
?Use of accurate and effective operating procedures, written with the participation of the operators. 
?Performance of a process hazard analysis of equipment and procedures. 
?Implementation of an auditing and inspection program. 
Chemical specific prevention steps include availability of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), worn by the operators during connection/disconnection of ammonia supply, and awareness of the hazardous and toxic properties of these toxic substances. 
No accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia have occurred at this facility in the past five years. 
NewStar will fully implement the RMP and will  
initiate appropriate changes as needed to maintain a safe operation. 
The facility possesses its own emergency response program.  This program includes an emergency response decision tree and a notification plan.  Emergency response drills and drill evaluations are conducted once every year; emergency operations and response procedures are also reviewed at that time.
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